Eco Spoilsports – U.S. Consumers Rank Last Worldwide


Recycle Logo USAAgain in 2009, Americans as a whole came in at the bottom of National Geographic’s Greendex survey, which scores consumer progress toward environmentally sustainable consumption in 17 countries. Yet, we maintain a stronger-than-average belief that an individual’s environmental efforts can make a difference.

Survey responses indicate that Americans are less concerned about the environment than those polled in the other countries. In particular, they are less likely than average to feel that their personal lifestyle is harmful or to feel guilty about their environmental impact. They also are less likely to feel that environmental problems are bad for their health or to agree that global warming will worsen their way of life. Meanwhile, they insist on driving alone daily and in large vehicles, while being least likely to use public transportation or to walk or bike to destinations.

Still, Americans exhibited some incremental improvements in housing, goods and food categories the past year. These included keeping heating/cooling settings on low, laundering in cold water, using their own bags in stores and preferring to repair, rather than replace, broken items.

Food is the only category monitored in which Americans aren’t dead last, ranking 13th out of 17 countries. Factors contributing to their biggest improvement of the year include eating locally grown foods several times a week and drinking less bottled water. Americans also continue to be relatively infrequent consumers of imported foods.
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